Roberts receives 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from College of Engineering

Cynthia Roberts, professor in Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding professional achievement in engineering and architecture from The Ohio State University, College of Engineering (CoE). The College honored 16 alumni during the 19th Annual Excellence in Engineering and Architecture Awards on November 4, 2016 at the Columbus Museum of Art. She was introduced and presented her award by Richard Hart, Chair, Biomedical Engineering. 

Roberts received a bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Iowa, as well as a master’s (’86) in electrical engineering and a PhD (’89) in biomedical engineering from Ohio State. She presently holds the Martha G. and Milton Staub Chair for Research in Ophthalmology in Ohio State’s College of Medicine with a cross appointment in biomedical engineering.

"Cindy truly bridges the fields of engineering and medicine – since long before that was considered “a thing.” And her career path is different than most engineering alumni," Hart said. 

Roberts worked as a Registered Nurse for four years at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. While working as a nurse, she developed an interest in Biomedical Engineering, and began taking undergraduate coursework in engineering. Two years later, she entered the graduate program here at OSU and earned an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, followed by a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. Her dissertation involved laser-tissue interaction in vascular tissue. 

Dr. Fred Cornhill, the BME Center Director at the time, recruited her to join the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1989 with a primary appointment in Surgery and a joint appointment in what was then the Center for Biomedical Engineering. Because her research interests moved toward applications in Ophthalmology, she transferred her primary appointment there in 1994.

Since then, her remarkable research career has focused on vision research. Her current interest is applied to investigations of Glaucoma. Included in this work is characterization of the biomechanical properties of eye tissues and characterization of the internal pressure in the eye, including the ocular pulse.

Roberts has written well over 100 papers in well regarded peer-reviewed journals, over 20 book chapters, and has co-edited two books. She has given over 190 invited scientific presentations across the globe and over 160 invited lectures in courses for continuing medical education credit or the equivalent. She also serves on the editorial boards of three journals.

Beyond pure academic interests, she has been involved in translational research for decades with an interest in Medical Product Development, specifically ophthalmic devices. She has worked with a multitude of both large and small companies, holds 5 patents, and has also started a company.

She has a passion for graduate education and teaches a required graduate course in Biomedical Engineering. She has advised over a dozen doctoral students, and has been a long term champion of the MD-PhD programs here at Ohio State.

"She has been a long term champion of biomedical engineering, first with the Center, later with the of the transition of the Center to the Department, and now as a key member of our department. Her enthusiasm and willingness to help students, staff, and faculty – especially as a faculty mentor for junior faculty – is infectious," says Hart. 

Congratulations to Dr. Roberts on receiving the 2016 CoE Distinguished Alumni Award!

Click here to view photos taken at the 2016 College of Engineering Alumni Awards Ceremony.